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Battle for Bludhaven #3 and #4

At4w battle for bludhaven 3 4 by masterthecreater-d54sq5g-768x339

Released
June 25, 2012
Running time
31:38
Previous review
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Tagline
Let the battle begin! ...Can we go now?
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Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. "Battle for Bludhaven" continues.

(Cut to black)

Linkara (v/o): Last time on the "Battle for Bludhaven" review...

(A quick recap of the first two issues of the series is shown)

Linkara (v/o): Chemo... (pronounced "KEE-mo") or possibly, Chemo (pronounced "KEM-mo"), depending on how you pronounce it... Personally, I always thought "CHEE-mo" just sounded better. ...was dropped on the city of Bludhaven, and the government tossed everybody out because of radioactive stuff. Instead of being sensible and relocating everything they find in the city, the government decided to erect a giant wall around the city and forbid anyone from going in, then for some reason decided to start using radiation to mutate meta-humans and other people into becoming an army for them, even though they've done that, like, six times before in the DC Universe, and it never, ever works out! While Firebrand whines and moans about the government in every other sentence he makes, a group of Atomic Knights tries to get the remaining people still in the city out of it while discovering that the atomic thing that the government found is in fact Captain Atom. However, considering Captain Atom is still inside of his containment suit, there should be no radiation leak at all, so let's pile on yet another thing that doesn't make any sense into this series.

Linkara: So let's dig into (holds up today's comics) "Battle for Bludhaven #3" and "#4" and see just how much dumber this insanity can get.

(AT4W title theme plays; title card has "Polka Power" by Weird Al Yankovic playing in the background. Cut to a closeup of the covers of the next two issues)

Linkara (v/o): Like before, no covers, though it has been pointed out to me that Daniel Acuña's art style actually more resembles Adam Hughes, rather than Alex Ross or Greg Horn. My mistake, though my comments remain the same. It just doesn't look right to me. But once again, it's personal preference.

(Cut to a recap inside Issue 3)

Linkara (v/o): The original printed version of Issue 3, like "Silent Hill: Dead/Alive", also included a text recap of the previous two issues, as well as head shots of all the characters in this thing. Just look at that! That's thirty character portraits right there! You know, at least in something like "Crisis on Infinite Earths" has a good reason why it has a cast of hundreds. It's supposed to be a massive, monumental event that affects everybody, so it makes sense that we'll see glimpses of some characters, but this is "Battle for Bludhaven"! Does anybody actually care about the names of the Nuclear Legion members?! Hell, we're gonna get more characters than the ones seen here!

(The comic proper begins)

Linkara (v/o): Anyway, we open with the Atomic Knights having located Captain Atom. They contact Roundtable, which is apparently a computer, based on the text and the way it speaks, which gives them an exposition dump about the character. Said exposition dump also talks about the fact that he had disappeared after a "dimensional fluctuation".

Linkara: Well, no, he disappeared after the events of "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies", wherein he flew a giant half-Superman-half-Batman robot into a meteor of kryptonite and the resulting explosion sent him into another dimension. Not that anybody in the DC Universe knew that at the time. (blinks eyes) Comic books are weird.

Linkara (v/o): Also, now that we have a closer look at him, we can see that there are cracks in the metal shell that protects the energy inside of Captain Atom. That kind of breach usually means he'll explode, but given the aforementioned continuity hiccup... I know, they were probably talking about "Infinite Crisis", but I'm not giving this book the benefit of the doubt. ...I'm not surprised that this didn't happen here. What does surprise is that the U.S. government is trying to use the radioactive energy from his body in order to make meta-humans. You see, Captain Atom already works for the government. It was the government who turned him into Captain Atom! Why the hell Michigan are they not trying to get one of their best agents back up and running again instead of turning him into the Boy in the Plastic Bubble?! An intruder alert siren starts blaring, and the Atomic Knights turn off the holograms that disguise themselves and armor up. They say they'll come back for Captain Atom and use their finger beams... Yes, they have finger beams, further proving how awesome the Atomic Knights are... to make their escape. Also, there's this guy in a tank who's watching three different circular screens at once. Who is this guy? I have no idea. Also, the screens he's watching? One has an atomic explosion, one has footage of the Twin Towers falling from 9/11, and the other apparently needed to be split in half, the bottom depicting an OMAC robot – long story; not important to this one – and above, a shot of Hitler.

Linkara: You know, it's not very often that I see a comic Godwin itself, but there you go.

Linkara (v/o): Who is this guy and why does he need to wear a shirt and pants when he's in a big tube full of green liquid while watching three TV screens of horrible things?! Anyway, the Atomic Knights fly out and Father Time orders his men to shoot them down with what I assume are heat-seeking missiles, because all we see are military guys holding big guns and then explosions in the sky, one Atomic Knight saying...

Atomic Knight: They're heat seekers! Lower your armor temperature!

Linkara (v/o): I guess they're close enough to the wall that the explosions can be seen by the people in the camps. Firebrand, helpful guy that he is, has a new ball of crazy for us. Also, because I find him insufferably annoying, I think it's time to resurrect the Superboy-Prime voice.

Firebrand: (speaking in Superboy-Prime's voice from here on out) You see what I'm talking about? Bludhaven is being used as some kind of military training camp! That's why they're not letting us in!

Linkara: (rubbing his temples in annoyance) Why would they do that? Please, Firebrand, break it down for me: why would they commandeer an entire city after a horrible disaster just to make it into a military training camp?! And why the hell would they then let you stand outside the city and watch them do that?!

Linkara (v/o): Firebrand decides to go over the wall, just running at it and... I guess in addition to fire powers, his City of Heroes skill set includes a lot of points in leaping, because he tries to jump over the wall.

Solider 1: Get back!

Soldier 2: This is an act of treason!

Linkara: (stunned) Treason?! (stammers) Tr-Tr... Tre...?! (clutches at his forehead in frustration) I think I broke something in my thinking thingy!

Firebrand: The people have a right to know what's happening beyond this wall! You can't just wrap yourselves in the flag and accuse everyone else of treason just because you have a gun!

Linkara: (still clutching his forehead, but now smiling) Okay... (chuckles) Okay, I think I get this comic now. You know, some people, when they're dissatisfied with the government, will become activists or lobbyists or start political blogs expressing their discontent. Other people inject half-assed political messages into their creative works (gets angry) that are as flatly two-dimensional AS THE PAPER THEY'RE PRINTED ON!!

Linkara (v/o): It's very difficult to have a "message" that you want to convey in this kind of story, because you come across just as nuts as the people you're attempting to demonize. It's especially ill-advised to inject this kind of ideology into a story that features an astronaut fetus and a group of superpowered beings formerly known as The Force of July.

(Cut to shots of the comic "Watchmen")

Linkara (v/o): Hey, you remember how "Watchmen" was about how evil the alternate universe Nixon administration was and how the government was full of evil people for perpetuating the Cold War? (laughs, then becomes enraged) OF COURSE YOU DON'T!! BECAUSE THAT'S NOT WHAT "WATCHMEN" WAS ABOUT! Any political messages you take away from that book are the things that the individual reader interprets about the story, and the broader themes of power, whether the end justifies the means, and what's morally acceptable for a greater good!

(Cut through black back to "Battle for Bludhaven")

Linkara (v/o): In this comic, however, our choices are: evil dumbasses that are evil for evil's sake, crazed wannabe freedom fighter who thinks the government is putting mind-control drugs in the water supply, or indecisive teenagers.

(Cut back to "Watchman" again)

Linkara (v/o): And that's another reason why "Watchmen" is heralded by many as the Citizen Kane of comic books, to the point where the mere idea of prequels to it is controversial... For the record, I'm not reading any of those prequels...

(Cut back again to "Battle for Bludhaven")

Linkara (v/o): ...and "Battle for Bludhaven" is remembered as that dumbass comic that came out after "Infinite Crisis" that tries to make parallels to Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq War, despite a completely different context and all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the face! With the word "subtle" written on the sledgehammer!

(Cut back to the comic in progress)

Linkara (v/o): Oh, yeah, and speaking of team heroes, Robin shows up and kicks Firebrand down before he can get over the wall. So how the hell did Robin get so high up in the air? He's not swinging on anything, he doesn't have any superpowers, he just is suddenly landing on top of Firebrand and pointing out that he sounds crazy. Also, despite him falling on his back with Firebrand, the next panel shows him standing upright in front of the other Teen Titans. Robin points out that Firebrand's stupidity is gonna get people hurt or killed with his insane behavior.

Firebrand: What's insane is that self-proclaimed heroes like you aren't getting involved in what may be the biggest crime in American history!

Linkara: I would compare this with the ostensibly larger crimes in American history, like the Trail of Tears or the actual internment camps of Japanese citizens during World War II, but I'm sure Firebrand would never resort to hyperbole to make his arguments, (grins) would he?

Firebrand: Where have you been for the past year?

Linkara (v/o): Hey, now, they were really busy. Cyborg was sleeping the entire year; Kid Devil was making a deal with a demon to gain superpowers; Wonder Girl joined a cult to resurrect her dead boyfriend; Robin was traveling around on a cruise with two older men; and Ravager was... Actually, come to think of it, I don't know what Ravager was doing during the missing year. Hmm, got me there. But as you can see, everyone else was occupied with other matters.

Robin: We're not authorized members of any police force.

Linkara (v/o): BULLCRAP! You may not be authorized to make arrests, but obviously, the DC Universe allows superheroes to be part of the process. Otherwise, every single criminal you beat up would be released!

Robin: In case you didn't notice, that means we can't go against the government simply because we disagree with their policy.

Firebrand: Don't give me that bull, Robin! That's exactly what we should be doing!

Linkara: And there you have it, folks: Firebrand states that if you disagree with the government, you must violently oppose them and overthrow them! (puts down comic and takes a machine gun, which he cocks, then gets up from his seat) Viva la revolution!

(He runs off. Then, after several seconds, he returns, sits back down and picks up the comic again)

Linkara: Eh, the revolution was boring anyway. No good tunes.

Linkara (v/o): They continue to have a conversation about superhero philosophy concerning opposing crime and corruption, but because the writers don't bother to think about what the actual responses to these debate issues are, Robin and Cyborg just make limp-wristed statements about the real world being more complicated than what Firebrand thinks, so he just rambles on and on! Some citizens join in, but it's all the points we already know, so let's just skip this. Time to meet that Black Baron guy that was mentioned last issue. There's a gathering of civilians right outside his headquarters – and in broad daylight, making me wonder why the hell all those soldiers and patrols from the military base haven't noticed this yet. A man is allowed to enter to meet with the Baron... who is some guy in a skintight black outfit, except for a few decorative silver bits, including one that looks like an arrow pointed at his junk. (sarcastically) Goody, I'm sure this will be a character I'm rooting for. (normal again) The man who entered says he has some jewelry to exchange for medicine, and of course, the Black Baron has two women in skimpy outfits with him.

One of the women: The Black Baron rose up from the streets. Before the bomb, he was a drug dealer and a pimp, but now he's the new Jesus and everybody better respect that fact!

Linkara: Really, huh? (quivers, trying not to get angry) He's a pimp, eh? (laughs) And... he's the new Jesus? (laughs again, then becomes angry) Damn it all, Southland Tales just won't stop taunting me!!

Linkara (v/o): The man says he wants the medicines for his wife, who's diabetic.

Black Baron: Diabetes is a genetic flaw. In the new world order of Bludhaven, there is no room for the weak. We are a nation unto ourselves and that nation must remain genetically strong.

Linkara (v/o): "Genetically strong"?! Toxins and radiation have been leaking into this place for a year! We're gonna see in a second that you've gained superpowers from all of this! Your "genetically strong" nation is led by a MUTANT!! After the guy argues the point that the Black Baron is, well, insane, he gets vaporized by the Black Baron's eye beams.

Black Baron: Once the Bludnation is complete and all the children of the bomb are united... the whole world will know my name.

Linkara: (deadpan) Oh! Oh, goody! Oh, oh, rapture! Oh, joyous day! In addition to all the other stupidity, we now have a pointless subplot about a crazy drug-dealing pimp who wants to... You guessed it! ...take over the world!

(Cut to the obligatory clip of the Street Fighter movie)

M. Bison (Raul Julia): Of course!

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): Normally, I would not dignify the M. Bison clip with this loser, but frankly, I needed some reminder that you can have a crazy person as a supervillain, but have them be entertaining as all hell, as opposed to Beardy B. Pimpin here.

(Cut to another clip of the Street Fighter movie)

M. Bison: (to Guile) You come here prepared to fight a madman, and instead, you found a god!

(Back to the comic again)

Linkara (v/o): We cut to the base of the Atomic Knights, located beneath Bludhaven, which is also, naturally, a massive technological laboratory, and given the cryogenic tubes from the first issue, chances are that this was built while Bludhaven was regularly populated. Well, thank God for that. I'd hate for even the good guys in the comic to show any common sense. Anyway, the scientist lady working with the Atomic Knights speculates that when Captain Atom returns from another dimension, he ripped a hole in the "dimensional fabric", and that's where all those other beings in the lab are coming from. However, it's all speculation and still doesn't explain all the other plot holes, so forget about it, because the lead Atomic Knight says it doesn't matter, since their priority is to rescue Captain Atom. He orders the activation of "a dozen units" and to get a containment suit for the Captain ready. We cut back to the Teen Titans, who have decided to sneak into the city along with Monolith and Firebrand. Just a note on Monolith, by the way: he apparently had his own series briefly made by the writers of "Battle for Bludhaven", Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, so that's why he's here. Yep, that's certainly a justifiable reason for his inclusion and not whether it makes sense for the story. The group is sneaking into the city through a swamp, Robin stating that he used to enter the city this way all the time and there's no way the military could have set up a checkpoint here. So, wait, is the wall not around the entire city? I would really like to see the Senate Oversight Committee in charge of funding this operation and how this was proposed. Must have been one hell of a salesman.

Linkara: (as a contractor, examining some documents) So you're going to build an incomplete wall an entire city, displace thousands of people with no plan for what to do with them, then set up a laboratory within the city that will require constant patrols and protection. How much are you asking for this?

(Cut to a clip of Birdemic: Shock and Horror)

Ramsey (Adam Sessa): Ten million dollars.

Linkara: (shrugs) Yeah, that sounds about right.

Linkara (v/o): The Titans enter the city and find people hiding in the remains of an airport who start talking about the government lab to them. Speaking of the lab, Father Time has been called away to the astronaut fetus, which is now in a completely different tube than before.

Father Time: What is it? I'm extremely busy with security matters.

Linkara: Translation: He was sitting in his office playing Tetris.

Linkara (v/o): It seems that the astronaut fetus has transformed into a brain. Well, I lied; they don't actually call it the astronaut fetus, so this might be something else entirely, but if that's the case, why the hell were they just keeping the random brain floating in a tank?! Father Time asks why this is in any way important... I've been asking that since the first issue... and the scientist responds...

Scientist: For one thing, it is quite possibly the most intelligent form of life on this planet.

Linkara: (annoyed) BASED ON WHAT?!? THE FACT THAT IT'S A BRAIN FLOATING IN A JAR?!?

Linkara (v/o): And then the brain transforms into a humanoid being and just walks out of the tank, because the tank of course has a door on it, just in case the brain had to go out and use the restroom, I guess. The new creature, referred to as Replicant, states that it's been monitoring the brainwaves of everyone within a hundred-mile radius and agrees with Father Time's goal of an orderly society based on a single power structure. (sarcastically) Oh, goody! Father Time is a fascist!

Linkara: Okay, Father Time... I don't get you. What is your vision of what America actually is? What are normal people to you? If you don't give a crap about the ideals of liberty and freedom and peace and justice and all, why are you doing any of this for America?

(Cut to a shot of the cover of "Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters")

Linkara (v/o): And I'm ignoring the stupid-ass retcon put forth in "Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters", because that raises about a kajillion new plot holes if I were to do that! Man, it's a pity they couldn't get the same writers as this comic with that one to keep the whole thing consistent. (The writers of the comic are displayed: GRAY, PALMIOTTI, JURGENS) OH, WAIT, YES, THEY DID!!

(Cut back to the "Bludhaven" comic)

Father Time: I've been revitalizing the names of dead heroes to make their presence easier for the public to consume.

Linkara: (angrily) Oh, so NOW you care about what the public thinks! Well, then, maybe you should be trying to encourage the government to MOVE ALL THIS STUFF ELSEWHERE SO PEOPLE CAN GO BACK INSIDE THEIR HOMES AND GET THEIR STUFF!! MORON!

Linkara (v/o): Ugh, let's just try to get to the end of this here. Replicant informs Freedom's Ring that they're next to a boat that's been taken by the Atomic Knights, and they promptly attack it. Silent Majority, who has the ability to make copies of himself and is not silent actually has the balls to say, "Resistance is futile," to one of the Knights. Great, we've sunk to a new low here: ripping off things that are better than this crap! They manage to capture one of the Atomic Knights, but a force of fifteen more... Yeah, Replicant states that there are 125 in the city... launch their attack on the military base to obtain Captain Atom. And so, Issue 3 ends with Father Time rolling up his sleeves and saying he'll hold them off as long as he can. Many people were quick to point out a dozen other people that Father Time looks like, including the Marvel character...

(Cut to a shot of...)

Linkara (v/o): ...Judas Traveller from the Clone Saga. Oh, don't worry, we'll get to him eventually.

(Cut back to Father Time)

Linkara (v/o): But to me, this just highlights how annoying this character design is. The long, white hair and Robin Hood beard look are so generic that we were able to come up with so many other people that he looks like.

(Cut to a shot of the cover of "Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.")

Linkara (v/o): No wonder when the DC Universe rebooted, they put Father Time into the body of a Japanese schoolgirl with a domino mask! Yeah, it doesn't make any sense, but it's a hell of a lot more unique a character design than this asshole!

(Cut back to the "Bludhaven" comic, the fourth issue)

Linkara (v/o): Issue 4 starts off with the Atomic Knights fighting Father Time, who has super strength and agility. Naturally, despite outnumbering him fifteen to one, they have trouble fighting him and even self-destruct themselves in a few points to prevent him from knocking any of them out. The fight ends when one of the Knights throws some goop at him that encases him in hardened goop. The Atomic Knights retrieve Captain Atom and then leave. (sarcastically) Huzzah! I care so much! (normal) Now we cut to... Ugh, the Nuclear Family! The Nuclear Family are androids that each have abilities in line with different effects of a nuclear bomb, like radiation or an EMP. And just like the Force of July, they were villains who fought the Outsiders back in the '80s. The Secret Society of Supervillains have sent them out to help the Nuclear Legion find the source of the radiation. The two groups don't like each other. Next scene! Father Time splits his forces, half of them going to retrieve Captain Atom, while the other half go out to kill the Atomic Knights.

Father Time: I don't care if you have to burn Bludhaven to the ground.

Linkara: Ho! I'd like to burn Bludhaven to the ground! (gets enraged) Specifically, (holds up comic) I'd like to burn this friggin' COMIC AND BE DONE WITH IT!! But no, we have to sit through two more issues after this! (scowls as he reopens comic)

Linkara (v/o): The Teen Titans find the hospital where the Black Baron is operating out of, noting that there are more people in the city than the news reported.

Firebrand: Isn't it obvious? The corrupt government officials are all in bed with the massive corporations who own the networks and the news media.

Linkara: (listlessly) No, no, please, go on! I'd love to hear more about the sinister purpose behind aglets while you're at it.

Linkara (v/o): The Black Baron's troops open fire on them, and all of a sudden, the Black Baron comes out with his two henchwomen, both of whom have dynamite strapped to them. Yep, they're suicide bombers who just run up to Monolith and explode. Man, it's a good thing we have the Teen Titans here so they can just stand there and do nothing. Hell, Robin alone could probably take them down without letting them detonate, but whatever. Suicide bombers! This is social commentary about the fact that suicide bombers exist. And they apparently wear skimpy clothing and work for pimps with delusions of grandeur. After a brief fight, Monolith reforms, walks up to the Black Baron, picks him up by the throat... looks like he snaps his neck, too... and tosses his body into the sky, Team Rocket style. So I read that the Black Baron was actually supposed to be the enemy of the original Silver Age Atomic Knights. Man, wasn't it great that his subplot was resolved by them and not just some Gollum guy from a series that I didn't even know existed before someone in the comments told me?

Linkara: I will give the comic this, though: Monolith's outright murder of a guy and then tossing him like a football was the most entertaining thing to happen so far.

Linkara (v/o): The group decides that something is up... (sarcastically) No! Really? ...and want to get to the bottom of this. Back to Father Time, who has the Atomic Knight they captured chained to a wooden pole. Because, you know, a military base wouldn't have any proper ways of detaining a prisoner. He then brings in a former Nazi doctor to torture her for information about the Atomic Knight armor. (sarcastically) Well, thank you, comic! A woman being brutalized, threatened with torture, and drawn so that she's pushing out her chest in this panel, and then a low-angle shot emphasizing her breasts, and the Nazi torturer staring at said breasts! I want to strangle this comic!

Linkara: Oh, and because I have to remind you all, Father Time is secretly a (gives a thumbs-up) good guy!

Linkara (v/o): The Freedom's Ring team sent to kill the Atomic Knights go ahead and murder a building full of innocent people, over the Human Bomb's objection, because we needed another scene to remind us that these are the bad guys. By the by, let's talk for a second about contrivances, in particular, explaining about Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters.

(Cut to shots of a comic called Quality Comics, which produced Uncle Sam comics)

Linkara (v/o): You see, back in the Golden Age of Comics, there were actually quite a few companies out there, including one called Quality Comics, which went defunct in 1956. They had a lot of books and characters that were eventually bought up by DC, including several superheroes. In the 1970s, a lot of these heroes were brought together and put on their own parallel Earth, which was standard DC policy at the time: a group of characters acquired from a certain company had their own Earth. In that universe, the Nazis had a more prolonged World War II and eventually conquered the world. The Freedom Fighters were those same heroes in then-modern times trying to liberate the world from Nazi control. After "Crisis on Infinite Earths" merged all parallel universes together, they were basically kept in World War II, with their descendants becoming new versions of them, or in some cases, had special abilities that let them live longer.

(Cut to a shot of the opening of "Infinite Crisis")

Linkara (v/o): In the opening issue of "Infinite Crisis", the Freedom Fighters were confronted by a group of very powerful supervillains and most of them killed off, including Phantom Lady, the Human Bomb, and Uncle Sam.

Linkara: And then we have this comic, which features a new Human Bomb, a new Phantom Lady, and a new Firebrand. (scoffs) What a coinkydink that new versions of all these characters JUST HAPPENED TO SHOW UP AROUND HERE!

(A shot of a "Freedom Fighters" comic's cover is shown)

Linkara (v/o): It's a terrible contrivance. Basically, "Battle for Bludhaven" is nothing more than a setup for the "Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters" miniseries that came out after this. Isn't it nice to know how thoroughly pointless this entire exercise really is?!

(Cut back to the "Bludhaven" comic)

Linkara (v/o): Anyway, Major Force's group of Freedom's Ring runs into the Teen Titans and they start to fight. Most of the Titans are knocked out and then Ravager straight up kills another Lady Liberty! How pleasant, especially since the storyline in "Teen Titans" at the time was all about proving she wasn't a murderer like her father! What? You want character consistency between books?

(Cut to a clip of an episode of Blake's 7)

Avon: It's the kind of natural stupidity that no amount of training could ever hope to match.

(Cut back to the comic)

Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with Firebrand and Monolith surrounded by all the members of Freedom's Ring. Where the hell did the other team come from?

Linkara: (holding up comic) These comics continue to suuuuuuuuuck! And I hope you like fight scenes, because next week, we close out "Battle for Bludhaven" with two issues of fighting and more stupid things happening!

TO BE CONTINUED

(End credits roll)

So the brain just transforms into a humanoid creature completely out of nowhere and Father Time trusts it instantly? There's "too stupid to live" and then there's Father Time.

So the "Battle" for the city is really just a bunch of assholes all fighting each other for vague reasons to protect secrets no one knows or really cares about.

As always, if I don't have a music joke or something related to the comic or theme, I just play one of Weird Al's polkas.

(Stinger: Linkara is talking about his next move to Harvey Finevoice)

Harvey: (shocked) Kid, this is one of the DUMBEST ideas I've ever heard! You're just gonna start walking around with no idea where you're going and just hope you stumble onto something! You got no weapons, no clue where to start looking, and all of this because someone who tried to kill you last year thought it would be a good idea! KID, THIS IS NUTS!!

Linkara: Well, to answer your first point, I've got Linksano working on some gadgets to help out with my little journey, including a new gun that I can carry around. (Harvey crosses his arms) As for where to start looking, I'm going to head north first. Comicron 1 has picked up a few (makes "finger quotes") "hot spots" of magic, which could be a sorcerer or two that I'm looking for. And as for the Cloak... (hesitates) Well, he and the other Cloaks meant well and we were the assholes going around trying to get Malachite's hand.

Harvey: Speaking of Mr. I-Am-Named-After-A-Rock, are you really gonna go talk to him?

Linkara: I haven't decided yet. I don't think he'd be in a particularly helpful mood anyway.

Harvey: You're still gonna be traveling alone with nobody to watch your back.

Linkara: Well, that's not entirely true. I'm bringing one of the Mark 2 Cybermats with me. I figure it could come in handy.

(The Cybermat rolls across the floor and Dr. Linksano comes out, giggling crazily)

Dr. Linksano: Who ordered science?

Linkara: (excitedly, in the manner of a little child) Ooh, does somebody have new toys for me to play with?

Dr. Linksano: Indeed! (gives him a wrist communicator) First, here's a wrist communicator. (Linkara takes it and puts it on) I didn't have a lot of time to come up with a lot of functions, so we're keeping it simple. It's tied in directly to Comicron 1. Press the red button once, say who you want to talk to, and Nimue will direct the call to them. Hit the button again to close the channel. Hold down the button for three seconds to initiate an emergency teleport to get you out of any trouble you've gotten yourself into.

Linkara: And the gun?

Dr. Linksano: (hesitates) That's proven a little... trickier. I've gotten it to work, (gives him gun) but you can't adjust how powerful it is.

(Linkara looks at the gun quizzically, then aims it at a dartboard on the wall. Harvey looks shocked. Linkara fires the gun. The board explodes and is covered in flames)

Harvey: (alarmed) Criminy sake!

(He takes a blue cloth to douse the flames while Linksano cackles at how the gun works. Linkara gives him back the gun)

Linkara: Keep at it. If we need to, I'll go even without a weapon.

Harvey: (having covered the dartboard with the cloth) Kid, what about your show? Are you just gonna leave people hanging for a few months? Or do you expect me to fill your shoes again while you're gone?

Linkara: Don't worry, I've thought of that. (takes out a small computer device) The emergency reviewing hologram. It's already based on a scan of my personality and memories, so it'll be like I'm writing the review anyway.

Harvey: Can't you at least wait until after your 200th episode? Or are you just gonna let some hologram do that milestone for you?

Linkara: I've filmed the 200th episode in advance already. Besides, if I'm traveling around, maybe I can premiere it at a convention or something.

Harvey: But, kid, I–

Linkara: (holding up both hands) Harvey! I know you're worried about me, but this is the only way. I'm gonna find a way to fix my magic. Somewhere out there is someone who can help me. And I need to find them before it's too late. (walks off)

(end)

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